Leslie Kean is an independent investigative journalist known for pioneering human rights work in Burma. As Director of the Coalition for Freedom of Information, between 2005 and 2009 she fought and won a FOIA federal lawsuit against NASA to release "lost" records on the 1965 Kecksburg PA incident. She is patient, persistent, tenacious and skeptical. Her new book, ten years in the making and two years in the writing, has received open endorsement from so many leading politicians and scientists that it just might be a game-changer.
The intended audience is not the committed reader steeped in the lore of UFOs or discussions of the ETH and competing origin-hypotheses. Plenty of books explore these subjects and their readership is, against the mainstream, pitifully small and marginalised. Such works, however well-researched, are often self-published or condemned to share shelf-space with political CTs, channelling and new-age mush; often undeservedly consigned to the ghetto of the kooky, ridiculed fringe.
Readers familiar with the works of Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee, Tim Good, Jerry Clark, Stan Friedman, Richard Dolan and writers of similar calibre will find little new here, though they will find a few interesting nuggets. They are already persuaded of the evidence, and not the target audience for this book. These writers, collectively, have never effected political attitude-change: the contributors to this book are such serious, credible, high-profile people they just might.
Kean's target audience is professional academia, those involved in politics and the media, the skeptically-minded scientist with little familiarity with the subject matter due to its long contamination with fringe elements, and the concerned, civic-minded man or woman in the street who has never read a book on the issue and knows little of the powerful evidence for the existence of persistent strange aerial phenomena. The book is carefully crafted to bring the subject out of the UFO conference fringe and place it firmly centre-stage into the political and academic mainstream where it belongs; to make it a respectable and important subject for discussion. The argument is: These are responsible officials going on the record, and here is serious evidence of something real. You are irresponsible if you ignore this subject, or allow it to continue to be marginalised.
To this end, the book's tone is deliberately sceptical. The tag-line "Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the Record" describes exactly the content: only incontestable cases with multiple official witnesses plus supporting evidence have been chosen for inclusion. The author worked for years to contact and gain the confidence of these military pilots and high-profile government officials and to bring them together at the National Press Club in DC in November 2007. High priority is given to cases involving air force encounters; documented, confirmed, official. The contributors are truly international, confirming the global reach of the phenomenon.
This cautious tone, the international perspective and the author's avoidance of contamination by book jacket-cover endorsement from anyone associated with the "UFO community" sets this book apart from other work on the subject. This will be extremely difficult for a debunker to deal with, and that is the intention. Journalistic standards are high, so there are no "anonymous whistleblowers", no ID kept secret, nothing flaky or un-checkable. These establishment people have gone ON THE RECORD, and write in total around half the content of the 302 pages of the book. Introducing the section written by Nick Pope, Kean writes: "He is yet another example of the many officials and military officers who, as they became acquainted with UFO investigations by accident, flexed their skeptical muscles only to find themselves absorbed by the unexpected power of the evidence they had initially expected to disprove." The accumulated evidence presented is virtually un-debunkable.
Kean contrasts the relatively open way the UFO subject has been managed in recent decades by nations such as France, Belgium, the UK, Brazil, Peru and others, with the history of stonewalling and ridicule from all government and military bodies in the USA. Since the closing of Blue Book, the phenomenon no longer officially exists in the USA even though pilots, operators of military facilities and ordinary folk encounter it all the time. It's an Orwellian environment. What is to be done?
In the third and final section of the book, the author explores the nature of UFO secrecy in the US. She sticks to the facts as known and documented, and acknowledges the unsupported speculations frequently put out by various people in the UFO field about the cover-up inhibit understanding of the issue and serve to marginalise the subject. Her reasoning is logical, thorough and grounded.
In Chapter 26, "Engaging the US Government," Kean lays out the reasoned objective sought by the CFI:
"The coalition is asking for responsible action on the part of the United States concerning UFOs. We make this request not as an accusation of wrongdoing in the past, but as an invitation to join an international, cooperative venture under way now...we are seeking the creation of a small government agency to investigate UFO incidents, and to act as a focal point for action at home and for research worldwide."
Her objective is to bring about legitimization of the subject, so that scientific interest might be encouraged and government grants enable scientists in the academic, research and aviation fields to pursue serious study free of ridicule. She is not impotently shouting for "Disclosure" whilst remaining forever shut outside. She, and the impressive contributors to this book, ask for official recognition of the UFO issue as real, and for the establishment of a small agency to co-ordinate international study as a first step. No assumptions about the origin of the phenomenon are made: just that it exists, and needs to be acknowledged as real. It's a reasoned, achievable objective, unarguable in the face of the unassailable evidence presented here. That's why this book might be the catalyst for permanent recognition of legitimacy: in other words, a game-changer.
The production quality of the book is first class and the writing from all contributors literate, straightforward and completely free of typos. It has a logical structure, is an easy and absorbing read containing nothing extraneous, concerned with the facts and testimonies. It builds a compelling argument. If you haven't read it yet, maybe you should.